Finding Puglia in American

My sister works at Sportello Bakery and Restaurant in Boston, and I visited her the other day. She's a brave woman, my sister. She's cut loose from a high-paying career in advertising to do what she loves: working with food and people. The manager of the Sportello Bakery, she cut a classic image standing beside the bakery counter. And man, that blueberry polenta cake was awesome!

After purusing the wine list, I found several good friends and one pleasant surprise. The restaurant offers a rosé flight of three rosés, the third of which is Mjere rosato from Puglia, made by Michele Caló & Figli. The waitstaff seemed pretty stoked about it, agreeing that it was a complex rosé, making it a great for pairing with food. It is one of my favorite rosés from Puglia (look for a top 5 rosés from Puglia list in the next couple days) because it has backbone. Like most rosés made in Puglia, it is made from the native Negroamaro grape, which has such intense flavor that most winemakers complete the maceration process in just 2-8 hours.

The discovery of the emblems of Puglia's culture in the United States did not stop there. Next, I found Cantele's rosé in two local wine stores in Ellsworth, Maine. Then I found Cantele's Primitivo being poured by the glass at Massimo's Cucina Italiana on Hammond St. in Bangor, ME. The Cantele rosé, which costs 5-6 euro a bottle in Puglia, is being sold for a reasonable $10. Not a bad deal for the budget-friendly wine shopper.

Left: Paolo Cantele pouring at Cantele Winery during Cantine Aperte 2009. I interviewed Gianni Cantele in The Definitive 2009 Puglia Harvest Report.


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